Animals in Virginia

Updated: December 19, 2022
Share this post on:

The state of Virginia can be split up into five separate ecological regions with environments ranging from coastline and wetlands to lowlands to dramatic hills and mountains. The Virginia Department of Wildlife Resources lists over a hundred species of mammal in the state, but that’s just scratching the surface of wildlife that includes extensive marine ecosystems and over 200 endemic bird species.

Much of Virginia’s wildlife is similar to adjoining states like North Carolina and Tennessee. White-tail deer, black bears, squirrels, and other rodents are all integral parts of these ecosystems, and both golden eagles and woodpeckers patrol the skies. Virginia’s waters are also a delight for fishing enthusiasts. Pike, perch, trout, and bass are just a few of the fish found in abundance in Virginia’s lakes and rivers.

The Official Animal of Virginia

Virginia doesn’t technically have a state animal — but it does have a state bird, a state fish, a state insect, a state bat, and a state dog. The state dog — the American foxhound — can reasonably be substituted as the state animal. The state bird is the cardinal, while the state bat is the native Virginia Big-Eared bat. The Eastern Garter snake is the state snake, while the state insect is the Tiger Swallowtail butterfly.

Where To Find The Top Wild Animals in Virginia

Virginia is home to a whopping 41 state parks and 22 national parks, waterfalls with thousands of campsites available — and while that means there are plenty of places to see nature, it can be a little bit overwhelming if you don’t know where to start.

The Mid-Atlantic Coastal Plain is home to stretches of wild Atlantic coastline as well as expansive swamps and estuaries. The wildlife here includes red foxes, turtles, river otters, and multiple species of shrew, mice, and other rodents.

Further inland is the Central Appalachian Forest. The heavily wooded area encompasses the heavily wooded Blue Ridge Mountains which then extend all the way to Pennsylvania. Many of the same species from the Mid-Atlantic Coastal Plain call this region home. Black bears are the apex predator here, but they share the land with rabbits, foxes, moose, and white-tail deer.

Five major rivers dump into the bay that feeds the Chesapeake Bay Lowlands region, and that makes it a similar ecosystem to the Mid-Atlantic Coastal Plain. Bird species like bald eagles and ospreys tend to dominate here, as the marshlands leave them with plenty of marine prey for scavenging. The hundreds of species of fish here make it ideal for fishing. Some sharks are also a common sight in Virginia Beaches.

The foothills of the Appalachian Mountains are known as the Piedmont Region, and the environment here is rich with species shared with both the swamp and the mountains. White-tail deer are a common sight, but you’ll also find coyote, woodpeckers, and marine wildlife that includes both catfish and sunfish.

The South Atlantic Coastal Plain stretches out to Florida and South Carolina and is predominantly marsh and swamp. Multiple rivers run through this area, and the ecosystem is primarily composed of wading birds, reptiles, and amphibians in addition to the rich fish population.

Popular places to see animals in each ecoregion include:

The Most Dangerous Animals In Virginia Today

The vast and unspoiled wilderness of Virginia has created massive playgrounds where fierce predators can roam unhindered. The black bear is common throughout the state. That said, there are predatory cats in the form of both pumas and bobcats.

Of Virginia’s roughly 30 snake species, only three are venomous. The copperhead, cottonmouth, and timber rattlesnake all produce venom that could exacerbate a bite. The copperhead is the least venomous of the three, and bites are rarely fatal.

Endangered Animals

Virginia is home to over two dozen endangered animals. Some of the rarest include:

  • Gray bat – A species that’s entire population is restricted to only 11 caves.
  • Humpback whale – Known for their beautiful and mesmerizing songs, they’re still recovering from exploitation by the whaling industry.
  • West Indian manatee – One of the rarest sea mammals, it’s remained on the U.S. Endangered Species list since the 1970s.
  • Red-cockaded woodpecker – A species that ranks among the rarest of wild woodpeckers, this species has seen devastation thanks to the loss of the long-leaf pine.

Zoos in Virginia

Virginia zoos include:

Native Plants in Virginia

From wild geranium and black-eyed Susans to wild bergamot and flowering dogwood, each of these plants, flowers, and trees is unique in its own right, whether you’re in Old Dominion or not. If you’re more of a flora person than fauna, there are beautiful native plants in Virginia worth exploring.

Read about:

Virginian Animals

Albino (Amelanistic) Corn Snake

Albino corn snakes great beginner snakes.

American Eel

Don't eat raw eel! Their blood is poisonous to humans when consumed raw.


They are so named because they "march" in armies of worms from one crop to another in search of food

Blue Catfish

It's a strong fighter when caught on a fishing line

Brook Trout

The Brook Trout is actually part of the salmon family, making it not technically a trout.

Clearnose Skate

The skate with translucent nose patches

Common Yellowthroat

The Common Yellowthroat stays close to the ground and uses stealth to survive!

Corn Snake

Corn snakes are partly arboreal and are excellent climbers.

De Kay’s Brown Snake

They have specialized jaws for removing snails from shells.

Eastern Box Turtle

When injured or damaged, the shell of the eastern box turtle can regenerate

Eastern Chipmunk

The name chipmunk is derived from an Ojibwe word that means “one who descends the trees headfirst.”

Eastern Fence Lizard

Females are usually larger than males.

Eastern Hognose Snake

Eastern hognose snakes are venomous, but only to frogs and toads.


Adult fleas can jump up to 7 inches in the air

Fox Squirrel

Although it is a tree squirrel, it spends most of its time on the ground.

Green Snake

There are two types of green snakes: smooth green snakes and rough green snakes

Groundhog (Woodchuck)

They whistle to each other to warn of approaching danger!


They can run as fast as 45 mph.

Kentucky Warbler

The Kentucky Warbler appears to wear bright yellow cat-eye glasses!


Ladyfish are aggressive fighter when hooked, making them a favorite of anglers.


They have a symbiotic relationship with ants.


Mockingbirds are incredible mimics that can learn hundreds of songs!

Mourning Warbler

The Mourning Warbler was named for its gray head, which resembles a mourning veil!

Mud Snake

Mud snakes can lay over 100 eggs at a single time!

Orb Weaver

Females are about four times the size of males


The owl can rotate its head some 270 degrees

Polyphemus moth

The Polyphemus moth doesn’t eat.

Queen snake

Queen snakes have armor-like scales on the top of their head

Rat Snakes

Rat snakes are constrictors from the Colubridae family of snakes.

Red-Bellied Woodpecker

Red-Bellied Woodpeckers will often steal the nests of other birds.

Red-Shouldered Hawk

Red-Shouldered Hawks reuse the same nesting area each year.


Will mate with the entire flock!

Rough Earth Snake

It has a pointed snout that is uses to burrow into moist soil.


Some gulls are capable of using tools

Smallmouth Bass

A fierce fighter!

Smokybrown Cockroach

Has up to 45 eggs per egg case

Smooth Earthsnake

Valeria Biddle Blaney (1828-1900) collected the first specimen in Maryland.

Virginian Animals List

Share this post on:
About the Author

AZ Animals is a growing team of animals experts, researchers, farmers, conservationists, writers, editors, and -- of course -- pet owners who have come together to help you better understand the animal kingdom and how we interact.

Animals in Virginia FAQs (Frequently Asked Questions) 

What animals are found in VA?

The wildlife in Virginia is diverse, but common predators include black bears, red and gray foxes, and puma. Other mammalian wildlife that lives there includes raccoons, skunks, opossums, and rodents like squirrels. White-tail deer are also common.

There are also some strange mammals that aren’t native. These strange species include elk and moose, but dangerous and predatory bull sharks have been seen off of Virginia’s coast as well.

What is the most dangerous animal in Virginia?

While it might seem weird, dogs are actually the most dangerous wildlife in Virginia for humans. The state is home to predators that include bears, pumas, and rattlesnakes — but you’re more likely to bite from a dog bite than any of them since they tend to avoid humans.

Does Virginia have platypus?

The strange mammals known as platypuses are exclusive to eastern Australia. You’re highly unlikely to find this weird wildlife in Virginia unless you’re visiting a zoo.

Are there badgers in Virginia?

Badgers are not native to Virginia. If you happen to see one, you’re looking at a weird aberration.

What black snakes are in Virginia?

Virginia is home to a number of black snakes. Some common ones include the eastern rat snake, the eastern black kingsnake, the black racer, and the plain-bellied water snake.

What are the best national parks in Virginia?

Virginia is home to a number of national parks and historical sites. Some of the most notable include Appomattox Courthouse, Fort Monroe National Monument, and George Washington’s Birthplace National Monument.

What venomous (poisonous) spiders are in Virginia?

The main venomous spider to be aware of in Virginia is the black widow. In addition, there are also brown recluses.

When do snakes come out in Virginia?

Most snakes come out of hibernation (called “brumation” in reptiles) in March.